Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Trump To Nominate U.S. Ambassador To Canada Kelly Knight Craft As U.N. Envoy

Washington Post: Trump announces nomination of Kelly Knight Craft to be ambassador to United Nations
“President Trump announced Friday evening that he will nominate Kelly Knight Craft, the U.S. ambassador to Canada and a major Republican donor, to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Craft is set to succeed Nikki Haley, pending Senate confirmation, and is Trump’s second pick to replace Haley, who left the U.N. post at the end of last year. The president’s first candidate, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, withdrew from consideration last week. Trump praised Craft’s tenure at the embassy in Ottawa as ‘outstanding’ as he made the announcement on Twitter…” (Rucker/Gearan, 2/22).

Additional coverage of the expected nomination is available from CNN, Foreign Policy, Fox News, New York Times, POLITICO, Roll Call, Slate, and UPI.

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Mexico City Policy Undermines Newly Launched Women's Global Development And Prosperity Initiative, Women's Health Advocates Say

Vox: How the global gag rule undermines Ivanka Trump’s plan to empower women
“Ivanka Trump has her next project. The president’s daughter and senior adviser is heading the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, which seeks to economically empower women in foreign countries. … But the biggest barrier to the initiative’s success might be another Trump administration policy: the global gag rule, a federal directive that prevents organizations abroad from receiving [global health foreign assistance] from the U.S. government if they discuss, let alone perform, abortions. … Gender equality advocates are skeptical Trump’s initiative can be as effective as the White House says it will be if reproductive rights are left out of the conversation, according to an analysis of the initiative by the Coalition for Women’s Economic Empowerment and Equality. … A recent report from [the International Center for Research on Women] found that, across 97 countries, each additional child reduces a woman’s labor force participation by 5 to 10 percentage points…” (Fallert, 2/24).

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U.S. Government Extends Human Fetal Tissue Research Program As Review Continues

Science: United States extends fetal tissue contract and revives one experiment
“The U.S. government’s leading medical research agency is quietly extending and reviving research that relies on human fetal tissue, even as President Donald Trump’s administration ponders the future of the controversial work in a far-reaching review…” (Wadman, 2/22).

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Violence Erupts At Venezuelan Border After Single Truckload Of Humanitarian Aid Crosses Into Country

New York Times: With Aid Blocked at Border, What’s Next Move for Venezuela’s Opposition?
“As the humanitarian aid at the heart of a Venezuelan border standoff remained shut in warehouses on Sunday, and with President Nicolás Maduro’s blockade still intact, it became clear that the opposition leaders trying to oust him had little in the way of a Plan B. Juan Guaidó, the top opposition official, and his allies had hoped that forcing the badly needed food and medicine inside Venezuela would represent a moment of irreversible collapse in Mr. Maduro’s authority. Instead, just one aid truck made it through on Saturday, the deadline set by the opposition to end the impasse, and Mr. Maduro easily fended off the biggest challenge to his power since Mr. Guaidó swore himself in as the country’s rightful leader last month…” (Casey et al., 2/24).

Reuters: Malnourished Venezuelans hope urgently needed aid arrives soon
“…[M]any Venezuelans [are] suffering from malnutrition as the once-prosperous, oil-rich OPEC nation has seen its economy halve in size over the last five years under President Nicolas Maduro. Venezuelans’ diets have become ever more deficient in vitamins and protein, as currency controls restrict food imports and salaries fail to keep apace with inflation that is now above two million percent annually…” (Rawlins et al., 2/22).

U.N. News: Tensions escalate in Venezuela, civilians killed and injured: top U.N. officials lament excessive use of force by authorities
“As tensions escalated on Saturday at various points along Venezuela’s borders with Colombia and Brazil, as well as within the country itself, resulting in the death and injury of various civilians, the United Nations chief, António Guterres, and the head of the U.N. human rights office (OHCHR), Michelle Bachelet, expressed their shock and appealed for calm…” (2/24).

Washington Post: U.S. lawmakers sound off during humanitarian aid standoff on Venezuelan border
“Supporters of opposition leader Juan Guaidó, recognized by the United States as interim president of Venezuela, and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro clashed on Saturday over the delivery of humanitarian aid into Venezuela. The Maduro government is refusing to allow $20 million of humanitarian relief promised by the United States into the country, and the standoff between the two sides has intensified. The role and rhetoric of U.S. lawmakers in the matter has also grown, with Republican and Democratic members of the House and Senate sounding off…” (Tamkin/Morello, 2/23).

Additional coverage of the situation in Venezuela is available from The Hill, IRIN, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post (2).

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Unvaccinated French Boy Diagnosed With Measles In Costa Rica; Country's First Case Since 2014

USA TODAY: French boy suspected of reintroducing measles to Costa Rica
“An unvaccinated French boy is suspected of bringing measles back to Costa Rica, a country which had been free of the disease for five years. The 5-year-old boy arrived with his parents for vacation on Feb. 18, Costa Rica’s Ministry of Health said in a statement. … Costa Rica has not had a domestic case of measles since 2006, and the last imported case occurred in 2014…” (Yancey-Bragg, 2/24).

Additional coverage of this story is available from Deutsche Welle and Slate.

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New Ebola Cases Reported In DRC, Including One In Beni After 23 Days With No New Infections

Agence France-Presse: New Ebola case in eastern DR Congo, first in 23 days
“A new case of Ebola has been confirmed in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo in an area where authorities believed the epidemic had been brought under control after 23 days without any fresh infections. In an update issued on Friday, the health ministry said the new case had been discovered in the conflict-wracked Beni region…” (2/23).

CIDRAP News: Ebola returns to Beni — survivor transmission suspected
“…[The] announcement also noted five other new cases, including four from two current hot spots. … Authorities are also investigating 179 suspected Ebola cases. [Friday’s] six new cases lift the outbreak total to 859 cases, which includes 794 confirmed and 65 probable infections…” (Schnirring, 2/22).

Deutsche Welle: Germany boosts support for tackling DR Congo Ebola outbreak
“Germany, Japan, and Australia have increased their support for the fight against an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The three countries will provide an additional $20 million (€17.6 million) to the World Health Organization and the U.N. children’s fund UNICEF. Half the sum will be used for an emergency response to the deadly hemorrhagic virus…” (2/23).

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U.S. Charges American Man Accused In Singapore HIV Data Leak; Singapore Files Civil Proceedings In U.S. Court

Agence France-Presse: U.S. charges man accused of Singapore HIV data leak
“An American man accused of leaking data of thousands of HIV-positive people in Singapore has been charged in the United States with possession and unlawful transfer of stolen documents, authorities said. Singapore announced last month that confidential information of 14,200 people diagnosed with the virus that causes AIDS had been dumped online, with most of those affected foreigners…” (2/23).

Reuters: United States charges man accused in leak of Singapore HIV data
“…Mikhy Farrera-Brochez was deported last year from the wealthy Asian city state after serving a prison sentence for numerous drug-related and fraud offenses, including lying about his own HIV status. … ‘The criminal complaint alleges that Farrera-Brochez illegally possessed and intended to distribute data containing sensitive medical and other identifying information,’ the U.S. Attorney’s office of the eastern district of Kentucky said on Friday…” (Geddie, 2/23).

Yahoo News Singapore: HIV data leak: Brochez charged by U.S. Department of Justice
“…On Saturday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Singapore Police Force released a joint statement on Brochez’s court charge, adding that they had also filed civil proceedings in the U.S. courts…” (2/23).

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More News In Global Health

ABC News Australia: The end could be in sight for obstetric fistula, a devastating childbirth injury (Worthington, 2/24).

Bloomberg: These Are the World’s Healthiest Nations (Miller/Lu, 2/24).

Devex: Interactive: USAID nutrition projects worldwide (Wisenberger, 2/22).

Health Policy Watch: Gavi Begins Major Typhoid Vaccination Campaign Against Outbreak In Zimbabwe (New, 2/22).

Reuters: Japan scientists win backing for work on potential Nipah vaccine (Kelland, 2/24).

STAT: Chinese government funding may have been used for ‘CRISPR babies’ project, documents suggest (Qiu, 2/25).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Devout Jamaica debates green light for abortion after rape, incest (Chappell, 2/25).

U.N. News: U.N. and partners to hold conference seeking urgently needed funds to save millions in Yemen from ‘horrific’ plight (2/24).

U.N. News: Without scaled-up humanitarian assistance ‘more and more people’ at risk in South Sudan (2/22).

Vanguard: The generation that could transform Nigeria has been born — Melinda Gates (Okogba, 2/23).

VOA News: Mother’s Death in Childbirth Sparks Outcry in Cambodia (Narin, 2/24).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Investments, Partnerships Key To Global Health Progress

The Hill: U.S. should take pride in the lifesaving role our foreign aid has provided
Kate Dodson, vice president for global health at the United Nations Foundation

“…[W]e’re at a pivotal moment to maintain strong support for global health. In the coming months and years, the U.S. and the world have key opportunities to fight deadly diseases and improve health for everyone. … Without strong U.S. investments in global health, we will backslide and tremendous progress will be lost. We all know diseases move fast and can be across the world in a matter of hours. That’s why countries stepping up to strengthen their own health systems also protects our own here in the U.S. We are in an integral chapter of the development story: countries stepping up to lead, with support from countries like America to catalyze and strengthen their investments. But the key word here is partnership — both parties doing their part to make lasting progress. As the world’s largest investor in global health, the U.S. government should take pride in the lifesaving role our foreign aid has made to millions” (2/22).

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World Bank Placed To Play Unique Role In Addressing Potential Pandemics

Financial Times: Letter: World Bank is uniquely placed to combat threat of pandemics
Richard Bissell, former assistant administrator at USAID, and Richard Seifman, Technical Review Panel member at the Global Fund

“…It is not ‘if’ but ‘when’ and ‘where’ there will be another infectious disease outbreak requiring extreme measures to control. One institution capable of leading a serious response is the World Bank. It can convince the financial decision-makers of developing countries that dealing with infectious diseases early on is critical for their economies and livelihoods. In other words, it can make a compelling case for containing pandemics before they reach others. … The World Bank is perfectly placed to play a unique role in containing the spread of potentially catastrophic illnesses. It is going through a change of leadership, with David Malpass proposed by the U.S. as its new president. But whoever takes charge, making pandemic investments must be a priority” (2/24).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USAID-Supported Program Aims To Facilitate Women's Inclusion In Afghanistan's Health Sector

IntraHealth International’s “VITAL”: In Afghanistan, Women Step Up to Fill Need for Frontline Health Workers
Mare Elston, technical services manager at USAID Promote: Women in the Economy (WIE), discusses the WIE program, which aims to “bolster women’s inclusion in Afghanistan’s mainstream economy” by encouraging women to “fill high-priority needs in maternal and infant care, vaccination, skilled nursing, and other health services” (2/22).

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World Bank Fact Sheet Outlines Group's Efforts To Contain DRC's Ebola Outbreak

World Bank: Fact Sheet: The World Bank Support to the 10th Ebola Outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo
This fact sheet provides a summary of the World Bank’s efforts to contain the 10th Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), including financing, technical support, and pandemic preparedness efforts (2/22).

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New WHO Strategy Aims To Halve Death, Disability Burden Of Snakebite By 2030

University of Melbourne: New WHO strategy aims to halve the global impact of snakebite
“A new World Health Organization (WHO) strategy aims to halve the impact of snakebite, which affects 5.4 million people globally each year, kills up to 138,000, and leaves 400,000 suffering permanent physical and psychological disabilities. University of Melbourne snakebite expert David Williams, who heads the Australian Venom Research Unit, has played a key role in developing the strategy in his position as chair of the WHO’s Snakebite Envenoming Working Group. … The WHO-led strategy is the first global plan to minimize snakebite’s huge health and socio-economic cost. It aims to reduce the death and disability burden by 50 percent by 2030, through a comprehensive strategy that includes delivering up to three million effective snakebite treatments annually.” The strategy is outlined in a paper by Williams and colleagues in the latest PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases (2/22).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Department Of State Highlights Efforts To Provide Humanitarian Assistance To Venezuela

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: ‘Let Humanitarian Aid Into Venezuela’
This blog post features U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo’s statement on international humanitarian aid to Venezuela: “…Tomorrow is a new day. It is an opportunity for Venezuelan security forces to do the right thing by allowing humanitarian assistance into the country, by protecting civilians against Maduro’s armed gangs or ‘colectivos,’ and by supporting the Venezuelan constitution and the rule of law. Now is the time to act in support of democracy, and respond to the needs of the desperate Venezuelan people. The United States will take action against and hold accountable those who oppose the peaceful restoration of democracy in Venezuela…” (2/24).

U.S. Department of State: The United States Pre-Positions Aid for Venezuelans on the Brazil-Venezuela Border
This fact sheet outlines U.S. efforts to provide humanitarian aid to Venezuela (2/22).

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From the Kaiser Family Foundation

KFF Brief Examines 5 Key Facts About U.S. Global Health Engagement With Multilateral Organizations

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Government and Multilateral Global Health Engagement: 5 Key Facts
This KFF brief examines five key facts about how the U.S. government engages with multilateral organizations to address global health challenges (Moss et al., 2/22).

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